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Rudaw

Kurdistan

Baghdad blocked Belgian minister’s visit to Erbil last year: official

By Rudaw 12/1/2018
Belgian Defence Minister Steven Vandeput. File photo: Eric Lalmand/Getty
Belgian Defence Minister Steven Vandeput. File photo: Eric Lalmand/Getty
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Iraqi government blocked a visit by Belgium’s defence minister to his country’s troops in the Kurdistan Region last year, the KRG's representative in Europe has revealed.

"The Belgian Minister of Defense Steven Vandeput was set to visit Baghdad and Erbil to check on Belgian soldiers stationed in the two places, but the Iraqi government would not consent to him visiting the KRG, so the minister cancelled his visit to Iraq," Delavar Ajgeiy told Rudaw on Friday.

Belgium, consequently, summoned the Iraqi ambassador to explain the matter, Ajgeiy stated.

Belgium is a member of the global anti-ISIS coalition and has soldiers in the Kurdistan Region, training Peshmerga forces.

This is at least the second time in three months that Baghdad has prevented foreign officials visiting Erbil. 

Last November, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel cancelled his visit to Baghdad and Erbil after he was prevented from adding a stop in the Kurdistan Region capital. 

Relations between Erbil and Baghdad have soured following Kurdistan’s vote for independence in September. The Iraqi government has rejected the result and responded with measures aimed at asserting federal control over the autonomous Region, like closing the airports to international travel and taking control of the disputed areas. 

Like many travelers, KRG officials, including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani, have circumvented the flight ban by going overland to Turkey and from there flying internationally rather than transiting through Baghdad. 

Comments

 
Muraz Adzhoev | 12/1/2018
And where is the adequate political reaction and diplomatic response of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition to Baghdad’s so impudent, insulting and unacceptable behavior? But Baghdad has been getting much more bolder and bolder, because the member-states of the global coalition led by the US keep silence about anti-constitutional policy of the Iraqi pro-Iranian ruling Arab-Shiite criminal fascist government led (before) by al-Maliki and (now) by al-Abadi. Is not their “international silence” a humanitarian, political and legal crime against the authorities and the Peshmerga army forces of the (autonomous) Kurdistan Region and the legitimately self-determined People, communities of Southern Kurdistan? Are they going to punish failed Iraqi “federative state” for so catastrophic and disastrous consequences of Baghdad’s crimes by the official recognition of Southern Kurdistan’s sovereign independence in accordance with the absolutely convincing outcome of the self-determination Referendum?
Maher | 13/1/2018
Don’t understand the fuss . Their country their rules . If he wants to go to KRG, he can do the same like or ‘officials’ and use the old way . Travel by car across borders and take an internal plane in turkey then an international one . How degrading !!!

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